India a major culprit in global air pollution problem

The air far too many people breathe across the world is depressingly unhealthy in too many places. Overall acute respiratory infections kill some 4.5 million adults and children each year across the globe. Influenza affects 3-5 million people each year and causes an average of 250,000-500,000 deaths. Globally there are an estimated 156 million cases of pneumonia each year, the leading cause of death in children under 5, killing 1.3 million of them in 2011. Tuberculosis caused another 1.4 million deaths in 2011.

These are settings in which people share air–crowded neighborhoods, public transportation, public facilities, health clinics, work places and schools–which are breeding grounds for airborne diseases. The risk is always greater where people with weak health, such as the aged or people with compromised immune systems, come into contact with people who are sick.

Air pollution from tobacco smoke, biomass fuels and car emissions jointly contributes to air quality and airborne infections. Diseases caused by direct/indirect exposure to tobacco smoke kill more than million people (including some 600,000 non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke) each year, according to the World Health Organization, and account for 1 in 10 of all deaths, making tobacco the single most preventable cause of death in the world today.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control states that there is “no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.” Creating 100 percent smoke-free environments is the only way to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

Yet many smokers cite solid fuels, automobiles’ emissions and industrial effluents as the top culprits for polluting the atmosphere, and not tobacco smoke. But many non-smokers felt that people who smoke should realize the stupendous harm they are doing to themselves, to others and to the environment.

According to many youngsters interviewed in India and abroad, urbanization and consumerism go hand-in-hand with deteriorating ambient air quality. They felt that reliance on fossil fuels by the manufacturing and car industries has contributed to air pollution and that governments need to invest in streamlining public transport to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and in new automobile technologies for hybrid and electric vehicles.

via India a major culprit in global air pollution problem | Asia News – Politics, Media, Education | Asian Correspondent.

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